Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It took quite a lot of thinking for me to write this post, but I figured it was something worth writing about. I really don't want to be dampening the holiday spirit but anyway ...

I remember a time in my life when I thought myself to be immortal. I drove fast, hell, I raced. I practically drank everyday and if there was no reason to drink, I will invent one. I love taking risks and daring the devil and found myself in situations when I look back on it today, I still cannot imagine how I managed to get out of it unscathed. Maybe some bruising and wounds, but aren't they supposed to be battle scars?

I remember those great fun times and I remember them.

She was envious of the coming out party of a friend.  So we said we'll make hers even more fabulous. The theme would be rainbow colours because she loved them all. That night, we all left the party irresponsibly drunk, but we had a driver. She was left behind somehow, so the next best thing to do to catch up with us in the Club we would hit was to ride in a bike. Vivian was really tall, statuesque even, because I remember she towered amongst us girls, and to call her a stunner was an understatement. Something went terribly wrong that night. The bike she shared with her cousin skidded when he tried to maneuver away from a big rock on the road, and she flew out of the bike and hit a tree trunk. We were laughing hysterically over nothing in the bar when the news hit us. On the day of her burial, we let go of a 1000 rainbow coloured butterflies.  She never made it to 18 years old.

Olivia had always been goofy looking, but don't let that fool you, she was tops in the Vanity list and her physique was deceiving. We played a mean tandem in the volleyball team. I stopped and tossed, she spiked them hard. She's the only one I know who goes to a parlour before a volleyball match.  Win or lose, she was properly coiffed. She loved life and everything beautiful about it. She always said she had something wrong with her blood, but in those days, who believed who? Everything was said in the spirit of jest and good times. One Saturday, I was told that she was rushed to the hospital, yet she was fussing over her manicure. Apparently, she refused to be ushered into the Emergency Room with her manicure colours cracking. We realized then, that her congenital cerebral disease was truly fatal. She died 2 days later. It was quick, too quick. We missed her spot in the Graduation Ball in High School. She wore her prom dress in her wake. She was vain till the end.

Carol and I are speed freaks. We have a need for speed. We both raced in the Circuit. And Carol was a damn good driver. Carol's family is half-Chinese and extremely superstitious. They believed in signs, stars, numerology, astrology, name it. I guess when she was a young kid, Carol always had an illness or was accident-prone during her birthday month. Her parents always managed to tie her down when she was much younger and kept her in detention before she further harms herself every month of September. Some Chinese I have met believe August or September to be the Death Month. She wasn't supposed to drive, but that day, my big brother had the car and he promised to drop me off wherever we would hang out and collect me back when I wanted him too. We needed one more car, Carol, of course, volunteered. It was one more week before her birthday in September.  Anna, Frieda and Lourdes rode with her. She was not even driving fast, but the truck driver that hit them from behind probably was. Her car toppled twice and hit the side of the road landing on its top. Anna recalled Carol's voice asking if everyone was alright. Everyone was alright but Carol never made it to the hospital.  She died on the spot. She was going to be 21 years old.

I was doing my internship in my graduate school in Psychology when I chanced upon one of my Mom's closest girlfriend, Bernie, in a shopping mall. I have known Aunt Bernie since her kids were babies, Claire and Anton. Anton is a boy genius and I have been cruel enough several times to use him as my lab rat when I was doing my Psychology papers. Claire and I shared a lovely bond, so she took up Psychology because she wanted to be something like me. Aunt Bernie and Claire was out shopping that day, which was the usual time-killing hobby of the people that I call, have tons of money to burn. Claire had just turned 18 and she had a new sports car as a present, and now she wanted to join me in the Special Children's Clinic I was doing internship in, for a paper she had about Autism in her Abnormal Psychology Class. I told her to come over to the Clinic the week after as I will endorse her intent to the Head Clinician. That was October. I never saw her which then I thought was rather odd because Claire sounded so enthusiastic. When December came, one afternoon when I got home, I saw my mother's face fresh with tears and I asked what was wrong. She shakily told me Claire had passed just under a week ago due to some rare viral haemorrhagic fever. I was shocked to say the least. I told my Mother of the brief encounter I had with Claire and Aunt Bernie just a month ago and Claire looked so lovely and healthy. It was completely unbelievable, I said, they lived only 2 blocks away from a good hospital. Apparently, she never took her recurring fevers seriously. (I could swear she felt immortal) By the time they took her to the hospital, she was bleeding in all the holes of her body. I was stumped and completely in denial that the following weekend I drove to their place to check on Aunt Bernie, Anton and Uncle Alex. A caretaker met me at the gate with a Guard. The family had flown to an unknown destination. They left the house, the cars, everything they owned, intact. I was told they just flew with the clothes on their backs and the caretaker has not heard since. I dared a peek and I saw Claire's brand new red Corvette parked in the huge garage along with the other Beamers, Benz and Volvos. So much money and they couldn't save the life of their only daughter. I can only try to feel the agony of being in so much wealth and yet so helpless in the time of death of a loved one. Claire was 18 when she passed and I still remember her bright eyes and very charming smile.

Today, I don't think of myself immortal. I just think I'm blessed and lucky to still be around to enjoy whatever is worth enjoying in this transitory existence. I remember all these girls I have shared my life with and now they are gone; constantly reminding me that I should live my life fully as any time and in any way, it can easily be snatched from my hand. I have so grown up to consider everyday is a day of Thanksgiving. I am thankful I am still alive and whatever it is that is out there I still have to conquer, I will, whilst I still have the time and I still live. Call me foolish, but to everyone who will read this post, Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Having a Bad Day/s?

I was told by my wise grandfather that there are no bad days or there is no such thing as bad weather. He said, it's all a matter of how you make of it. 

I had no idea what he meant then, since that conversation took place when I was around 6 years old and I had deficient selective attention. (Fine, the conversation could have happened yesterday and I'd have the same lousy excuse.)

As I was saying, all I took away from those words was a lame attempt of my granddad to make me smile because every time it rained, there was no way I could be swinging from the trees and running around in the small puddles. Not a lot of the kids in their neighbourhood were allowed to run and soak under the rain. Since there were no playmates, I sulked looking out the window, wishing the sun would come out and make it a better day.

In the present day.

Have you ever been jolted out from your sleep with the thought that you may have hit your alarm clock way too many times that you could have missed it? Then you realize, holy guacamole!, it's not a thought or a dream state, you did manage to wreck your clock by whacking it and you are an hour late! You jump out of bed way too fast you stub your toe on your bedside table. Who freakin' thought of putting a bedside table anyway? You limp across the room and run into the bath. Still blinded by sleep and a parked brain, you step on your cat and get a glorious good morning scratch on your shin. And it's the same foot with the throbbing toe! Just crap! 

Fortunately, you manage a bath and brushing your teeth without further injuries and you tread on, still in haste. You grab the hair dryer for a quick fix of your 'do then something snaps, crackles and pops! The dryer explodes right in your hands! What the? You used the 110 dryer out and plugged this into a 220 volt socket. Curses! So you grab a hair clasp and up your hair goes. You hope the people in the meeting would ignore the water dripping from your hair onto your coat's collar. You plan to smile broadly all the time as a decoy.

You ran downstairs, grab a cup of coffee and take a gulp. Double crap! It's scalding hot and you burned 8,000 of roughly 10,000 taste buds.  Worst of all, you spilled coffee on your white shirt and there's no time to rummage soda water in the ref as you need to hit the road. You grab your coat, and will have to move around with a closed jacket to cover the stain spots. Unfortunately, even with all the buttons of the coat closed, the stain peeks out and it's obviously a brown coffee stain. You plan to con the people who may ask to buy into the excuse that you're breastfeeding your baby with cappuccino. But wait, you don't even have a baby!

You remain bullish and undaunted by all these signs, you move on. You grab your shoes, wear it, a sudden pain remind you that your toe is now swollen. You grab another pair, an open-toe one. You give it one look - the right toe is way bigger than the other peeping toe ... but what the hell? 

You get to your car and just when you have almost hit the highway, you scream as you realize you left your laptop back home, where your entire meeting presentation is stored. And because you are stubborn and downright competitive, you didn't want anyone else to have an advance copy of your sheets, you decided not to send an email to have the files (at least) be in the Office server.  You start to tear up and worry about smearing your mascara then you remember, you hardly have any make up on. 

You grab your mobile phone to call the Office to tell them that you may be running late and find that there is only one bar left on your mobile phone battery. You call a colleague but the number can't be reached. You try the Office land line and pray someone picks up the phone; hopefully those jerks are not busy horsing around or having breakfast or tea in the pantry. Somebody answers!  Yes, your luck just turned better. You are screeching in the middle of a hysterical, panic attack and the person on the other line tells you to calm down; the meeting has been reset to a later date, since one of the key decision makers had to fly urgently out of town. In both excitement and annoyance, you accidentally slam on the brakes, the bigger idiot behind you whams into your car! Just as you stepped out of your car, it rains.

I was told by my wise grandfather that there are no bad days or there is no such thing as bad weather. He said, it's all a matter of how you make of it.

Surely not all of my days are as eventful as this one, of course, it's not a bad hair day either. It's just a series of things happening to me and could be happening to someone else, and I consider them to be just that... things going wrong. And if I have ever learned one thing in how I make it out of a day like this, things can really go from bad to worst, but I believe there are better days. 

I simply just let it go for the day! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


… the more they stay the same.

I was told this is an old French saying but I find it rather apt to declare it quite a universal tenet. Besides DEATH and TAXES, there are certainly a lot more things around us which I reckon would never change. These things may have been with mankind since the Beginning and will probably remain with humanity till the dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse.

For instance:

1.       RACISM

You can argue with me relentlessly about this, but I believe that for as long as our vocabulary and intellect can define discrimination, segregation, bigotry; amongst a few I can think of, there will always be class differentiation as a function of diverse beliefs, lifestyle preferences, religions, colour that naturally breed hatred, intolerance and the conception of superiority of one over the other.

Painful truth but nonetheless if we have learned anything at all, we should know that whilst we can hope for changes, racism will always be here, or there, or everywhere.


Go ahead, pretend to be as wishful (or perhaps tritely, as beautiful) as any of the beauty pageant candidates and dream of World Peace. I hate to burst your bubble, but seriously? The fact is, once there are opposing beliefs, between states and nations, protection or preservation of rights and territory; aggressive competition and downright hostility, (even between two individuals or parties); then we will always be in an open season for war and conflict. We have gone to war for the most stupid reasons, and yet we are. There will never be any winners in a state of war either, albeit human nature loves to win.  At war, there will always be casualties and collateral damages, nobody wins. Period.

Autonomy, freedom, independence and survival – we go to war for reasons that are noble, and we justify our losses for the nobility of the cause, not the insanity of the process.

3.       GEOGRAPHY

I did not invent nor discover it.  I grew up leaning that there will always be the quadrants that divide the earth into polarities. These days I could talk to a friend in France and chat with someone in a Casino in Vegas virtually; share a joke with a friend in Sydney and debate the concept of BPD with a colleague in London. Our globe has shrunk into a small gadget, through fingertip access enabling interaction and communication via the advancement of technology; however, there is no arguing that we will never be able to really close the gap in the “physical distance” sense.

I can’t imagine how to work around the fact that if I wanted to have a more direct, face-to-face and physical interaction with my friends from the different parts of the internet universe, I still have to buy myself an airline ticket to get where they are.  Whilst geography remains a constant, it makes a lot of sense why war and conflict and racism will likewise remain constants.


(Note: for the extra-sensitive readers, if you haven't guessed at this point, this is my Editorial Post.  So if you tend to squirm about certain words, I suggest you stop reading from this point.  Thank you.)

Undefined, debatable and used loosely across scenarios and boundaries of time and space: F-U-C-K.  This word can be used as a noun, a verb, a word intensifier, a descriptive expression, an adverb, an adjective, you name it. We have various reasons for using the word but I fearlessly predict, “fuck” will stay in our vocabulary till kingdom come. 

I have yet to come across another 4-letter word (besides LOVE of course) that has been used in so many different ways and stands alone in a class for its unique versatility. This word has grown tremendously over the last two centuries I don’t believe there is any stopping its momentum.

  • We have used it in one whole sentence whose meaning liberates itself from definition: Fuck those fucking fuckers.

  • As a descriptive word for a contemptible person: That guy is a total fuck.

  • As an expression of disbelief and surprise:  Good grief that is so fucked!

  • As a verb to initiate action: Just fuck off! or Go fuck yourself!

  • As a word alternative: I don’t give a fuck.

  • Or just plain and simple, not profanely but the literal meaning of the word:  “copulation” – They fucked in the car.

Somehow, the vulgar nature of the word has lost its eminence as it is broadly used as part of several iconic songs of this generation and in various musical genres, not limited to gangsta rap and rock. (Trust me, this word is totally overrated but will live on and on.)


Humanity’s greatest test, the capacity to change, runs parallel with the attendant nature of mankind - fear of preserving the status quo given the unknown outcomes; risks aversion; and the terrifying threat to one’s current well-being. I quote from the one of the world's most brilliant minds, (the fact that he was a jerk is not the issue here) -

Winston Churchill quotes

 Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.